A while back one of the guys in my team and I were having a conversation about long term goals, and how to look at them. Whether they were achievable or not. The conversation was really intense, with both of us getting deeper and deeper into the positive argument we were having about hitting targets, and what was needed to execute on them. During the most heated part of it, I said:

I have my target, and it’s an almost impossible target, and I am not changing it, and fuck if I care, I will try.

I think that summarizes what I currently feel about goals. About a target. About working to get it, and making sure you give it everything you have, if it is something you truly want to achieve.

But you have to want it. You have to own it. You have to work for it. You have to really want it.

Targets (or goals) should be difficult to achieve. The harder it is, the more you’ll learn in the process, and the more you will achieve on your way to hitting that target, even if what you achieve is negative. Set the goal to be almost impossible to achieve, and focus on the smaller targets you need to hit along the way in order to make the main target possible. And if you fail, and you most likely will fail along the way, you can adjust and make sure the incremental steps and smaller targets bring you closer to the big one, once you have corrected the direction.

Mark Twight wrote in The Recipe:

Change your attitude. Unfuck your head. Make an honest, unsentimental accounting of your present condition. Prepare to be disappointed. Define what you want instead, clearly. By clear I mean precise, and feasible. An unrealistic objective is sure to sabotage the process. Hit the books. Try and err. Inquire. Risk. Mimic. Insist. Resist.

It took me a while to really understand this. It was clear back in the military, and it was clear after the IED took part of my physical ability, but I really didn’t understand how this was relevant to most everything until recently.

You really have to own your bullshit, and make an effort to unfuck your head. That’s the beginning. And if you don’t do this, you won’t be able to start. Once you have the mind in the right place, you can plan, and get that hard to achieve target.

But without the mind being solid, you can’t start.

Mark continues:

After you fail - and you will - show up the next day. And the day after that. If you can’t train, watch. If you can’t see, listen. If you truly want to learn you can learn from everything. Eventually, you will. And you will take what you know and DO, and keep doing it, and the road will rise to meet you.

Incremental improvements. Set a hard target, then figure the steps you need to get there. Then focus on each step. Do not lose sight of the end goal, but do not focus on it. You will get overwhelmed. Focus on each smaller goal, then violently execute.